Years in the dreaming and planning stages, another section of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail will be opened to the public at 1 p.m., Saturday, November 23, with a ceremony at the Hillsdale Trail Head on Anthony Street, adjacent to the parking lot at Ed Herrington, Inc.
Representatives of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will be on hand to answer questions, and cider and donuts will be served. Parking is available at the east end of the Herrington lot, White Hill Lane, Hillsdale, NY.
The new portion of the Trail extends from Anthony Street to Black Grocery Road, a distance of approximately 1.5 miles. Volunteers from the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association (HVRTA) have mowed weeds and grass and cleared brush. A long section of crushed stone was laid down in wet areas in order to make the Trail ready for the opening; this was paid for, in part, from a Hudson River Valley Greenway Grant.
Though not in its final, paved form, the Trail will be walkable and great for cross country skiing, snow shoeing and possibly useable by mountain bikes.
The “soft” opening of this section of the Trail marks the formal end of the planning phase for the section of the Trail from Copake Falls to Hillsdale. Lisa DeLeeuw, Executive Director of the HVRTA, says that “with a grant awarded to the Columbia Land Conservancy on behalf of the Trail, we engaged Mark Morrison Landscape Architecture to survey the Trail from Copake Falls to Hillsdale and to complete final design plans. With this phase completed,” she said, “construction of the final, paved surface will hopefully get underway in 2014.”
Ms. DeLeeuw notes that “this construction is contingent on receiving a grant from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund. But in the meantime,” she said, “you can use this very beautiful Hillsdale section of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail right now.
The Copake Hillsdale Rail Trail Alliance is working with the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association and the Columbia Land Conservancy to extend this wonderful recreational resource for bikers, walkers, runners and cross-country skiers to our town. To learn more about the Copake to Hillsdale Rail Trail Extension visit their website here: www.railtrailextension.com
To join an email list to receive updates on the rail trail effort or if you would be interested in helping the cause please sign-up here.